Windows XP Service Pack 2 (Part 5): Virus protection

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
This article is Part 5 of the Windows XP Service Pack 2 - Step by Step guide. This article contains information about virus protection.

To view the other topics of the Windows XP Service Pack 2 - Step by Step guide, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base articles that are listed in the "References" section.

The Windows XP Service Pack 2 - Step by Step guide includes the following topics:
Part 1:  Better security with Service Pack 2Part 2:  Installing Service Pack 2Part 3:  The new Security CenterPart 4:  Automatic UpdatesPart 5:  Virus protectionPart 6:  Windows FirewallPart 7:  Protecting against buffer overflowsPart 8:  Improvements in Internet Explorer and Outlook ExpressPart 9:  Uninstalling Service Pack 2

Part 5: Virus protection

Viruses, Trojans, and other malicious software programs pose a great risk to computers. Several forms of malware are spread by using e-mail messages. However, a computer may also become infected when you search the Internet. This problem may occur if a new security vulnerability emerges in your browser or if you download a program that you believe to be trustworthy, such as a computer game, that it is actually a backdoor program.

Viruses and Trojans can cause major damage. These programs can damage single files or delete a whole hard disk. They can use a computer to attack an Internet server or to send spam. They may also be able to "phish" for passwords and for other private information or cause major problems on a computer.

Virus protection programs are the only effective means of protection against these types of attack. These programs help prevent attacks on a system and remove any existing malware.

How antivirus software works

When you use e-mail programs or search the Internet, you subject a computer to viruses. A virus can infect a computer when you do something as harmless as clicking a file attachment in an e-mail message that is sent from someone on an infected computer. The more that you use a computer for communication, whether this communication uses the Internet, e-mail, or file sharing, the more susceptible a computer is to viruses and to virus-related problems.

Protect your computer and your contacts by using antivirus software. Antivirus software detects, fixes, and prevents viruses from spreading to and from a computer. Antivirus software searches for latent viruses on a computer. This includes viruses that may have spread to a system without your knowledge. The software can also install antivirus fixes on a computer. These fixes help protect a system from future infection and help prevent the system from unintentionally spreading viruses to other computers.

Unfortunately, some computer viruses are not discovered until you try to upgrade or to modify software. Therefore, we recommend that you use antivirus software before you install Microsoft Windows XP.

Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is a comprehensive and integrated computer care service that helps protect and maintain a computer by using antivirus programs, antispyware programs, firewalls, performance tune-ups, and file backup and restore functionality.

To download Microsoft Security Essentials, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool

You can help protect a computer from malicious software by using the Malicious Software Removal Tool. This tool checks Windows XP-based, Microsoft Windows 2000-based, and Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based computers for specific, prevalent malicious software and helps you remove threats after they have infected a computer. When the detection and removal process is completed, the tool displays a report that tells you which, if any, malicious software was detected and removed.

Each month Microsoft provides an updated version of this tool that removes malicious software that is found to be prevalent for that month.

To download the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

McAfee Corporation

McAfee offers a free virus scan (VirusScan Online) to all users who upgrade to Windows XP. We highly recommend that you run this virus scan or another virus scan before you install Windows XP.To obtain this software, visit the following McAfee Web site:

Antivirus products for Windows XP users

VirusScan Online
Personal Firewall
McAfee VirusScan
Dr. Solomon's Virex for the Macintosh
Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus for Workstations
Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus for Server
NetShield for NT
GroupShield Exchange

Symantec Corporation

Symantec offers a free tool to repair the SirCam virus. To download this tool, visit the following Symantec Web site:Symantec offers a free tool that is named Symantec Security Check to test how susceptible a system is to security and virus threats. To download this tool, visit the following Symantec Web site:

Antivirus products for desktop and server

Norton AntiVirus 5.0 for OS/2
Norton AntiVirus 7.0 for Macintosh (Desktop)
Norton AntiVirus Corporate Edition 7.5 for NetWare
Norton AntiVirus Plus for Tivoli Enterprise and IT Director
Symantec System Center
Symantec AntiVirus Command Line Scanner 1.0
For information about your hardware manufacturer, visit the following Web site:
Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information.

How to use antivirus software in the Security Center

If you have installed the latest updates, the Security Center indicates that a virus protection program is active.
Security Center - Virus Protection On
You must regularly update virus definitions. If you do not, you will be reminded to update by the Security Center and by antivirus software.
Taskbar balloon message - Your computer might be at risk
Virus Protection - Check Status
In this case, the Security Center recognizes that a virus protection program is installed, but cannot guarantee its integrity. To prevent these notifications, follow these steps:
  1. Click Recommendations.
  2. Click I have an antivirus program that I'll monitor myself, and then click OK.
    Security Center Recommendation - I have an antivirus program that I'll monitor myself
    The security status changes immediately. The Security Center will no longer display warning messages about potential risks. You must monitor the correct operation of the virus protection software yourself.
    Virus Protection - Not Monitored
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.
For more information about this topic, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
889735 Better security with Service Pack 2(Part 1)

889736 Installing Service Pack 2 (Part 2)

889737 The new Security Center (Part 3)

889738 Automatic Updates(Part 4)

889740 Windows Firewall (Part 6)

889741 Protecting against buffer overflows (Part 7)

889742 Improvements in Internet Explorer and Outlook Express (Part 8)

889743 Uninstalling Service Pack 2 (Part 9)
This article is a translation from German. Any subsequent changes or additions to the original German article may not be reflected in this translation. The information that is contained in this article is based on the German-language versions of this product. The accuracy of this information relative to other language versions of this product is not tested in the framework of this translation. Microsoft makes this information available without warranty of its accuracy or functionality and without warranty of the completeness or accuracy of the translation.

Article ID: 889739 - Last Review: 12/09/2015 01:55:41 - Revision: 5.0

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2

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